Premiere Pro and GPU - How Much Does It Matter?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by loybond, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. loybond macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    The True North, Strong and Free
    I'm thinking about getting a 15" MBP retina, but at around double the price of the 13 retina, I'm wondering if I can get away with the latter.

    I had a 27" 2010 iMac (3.06 GHz, 12GB, some ATI graphics) and I had three major issues with Premiere on it. The scrubbing was super slow, to the point that it was hard to select clips from the raw material. This with the previews at the lowest possible resolution. Second problem was that applying effects like warp stabilizer would take an eternity; even on a 15-second clip, I'd need to go do something else for a while (20 minutes?). Third problem was export times. 7-10 minute clips (warp stabilizer on some clips is all I had) took me 8-30+ hours to export.

    So I dumped that machine and built a Windows PC/hackintosh. 2600K, 32GB RAM, GTX 580 3GB graphics) and found that that scrubbing was fast and easy, warp stabilizer took maybe a minute on similar 10-20 second clips to apply and export times were 2-5 minutes for videos 4-10 minutes in length. I actually got two GTX 580s but found that Premiere doesn't take advantage of multiple GPUs, so I got rid of one.

    I found a page somewhere comparing export times on Premiere with different GPUs, and it seems to suggest that performance in Premiere is heavily dependent on GPU... namely amount of RAM and CUDA cores. My 580 beats a LOT of cards out there surprisingly.

    So considering that, I was thinking that a 750M-packing 15" rMBP was a necessity, but I see everywhere that people do in fact edit on 13" rMBPs... just wondering how the experience is? Perhaps some existing users could chime in?

    Is scrubbing raw material smooth enough, any issues with that? How long does it take to apply warp stabilizer to a 10-second clip? What are export times like?
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    PPro is very GPU dependent. I think Adobe is improving OpenCL support but if you want the most out of your GPU you need CUDA.
  3. loybond thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    The True North, Strong and Free
    My conclusion too, but how do people use 13 rMBPs and machines like that to edit?

  4. Volkstaia macrumors regular


    Jul 5, 2012
    East Coast of the US
    Every video editor ever is more dependent on RAM then Graphical Power.
  5. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Don't even touch the 13" for your work. If you had trouble with the iMac you'll want at least the 15" and definitely make sure you get the 750M can offline edit pretty much anything on anything but really editing modern video on a 13" MBP is torture...also that dGPU is whats going to make your system future proof as on a laptop you obviously can't upgrade the dGPU (unless you consider external GPU's via thunderbolt in the future an upgrade where you could throw a GTX 580 or even 680 in an expansion chassis to use it as another GPU for rendering [headless GPU]).
  6. CaptainChunk, Nov 3, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013

    CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    I think what a lot of people don't understand about PPro's use of CUDA/OpenCL is that it doesn't accelerate encoding/decoding - the biggest resource eaters of all when editing less-than-ideal codecs - at all. It only accelerates a limited number of things such as real-time scaling and a handful of effects (Warp Stabilizer being one of those - and it's CUDA-only at the time). Surely, your export times with supported GPUs will improve, provided that what you're exporting on the timeline actually benefits from PPro's GPU acceleration.

    But if you're cutting a resource-intensive compressed codec such as H.264, the CPU still matters a lot more than the GPU, and that is where a multi-core CPU will shine. The 13" rMBPs are still strictly dual-core machines, even at the higher end. A current 13" i7 model with no other upgrades is $1,999 - identical in price to the base 15" model, which has quad cores standard to go with the larger/higher-res screen. You still have to pay $600 more to get into discrete NVIDIA graphics (you also get a faster i7 and double the standard storage in the process), but the Iris Pro graphics are no slouch, either.

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